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1: House Call

Nick Carter couldn’t make up his mind. Should he go with the picture of him with the white top or the black one? To be quite honest, he didn’t really give much care, he had seen too many of his pictures in all kinds of poses that whether a slightly crooked smile or a slouched shoulder didn’t bother him much anymore. But Howie had made him promised that he would give his utmost attention to the pictures and picked his favorite. Put it this way Nicky, we never know when we’re gonna pose for an album sleeve as a group again so I don’t want you to look back and regret not picking the best, Howie had convinced him. Softly playing in the background was his copy of the final songs they had agreed to have in the album. He loved this part the most, listening to each song subconsciously and often wondering what would the fans think of it. His cell phone started to ring, disrupting his decision making process. He smirked when he saw the number. “You HAVE to help me.” Nick burst into giggles; Brian could be overly dramatic if he wanted to. “I see AJ’s keeping you busy.” “I should book myself in a hotel.” Brian sighed. “You should book yourself in a hotel.” Nick agreed. “Or get better luck and toss that coin and hit head.” “Yeah, I would be staying with you if I had gotten head. Now the question is, why would that make me lucky?” Nick laughed heartedly. “You’re as bad as AJ, I still think hotel would be the best choice.” “And yet you called me asking for my help.” Nick pointed out. Another sigh. “I know…have you decide which picture you want to use?” “Nope. I blame Howie for that.” Nick whined. “I’m sitting here scrutinizing every single detail, looking at every freaking angle and, did you know I look better on my right side than my left?” “He’s turned you into Mariah Carey? Wow, never underestimate the influence of Howie D.” Nick shuddered. “I need a break. What’s your problem?” “Well, AJ keep saying I should use the one of me in that brown jacket.” “So what’s the problem?” “The problem is, I look like a freaking hobbit in that one.” “Hey, they saved middle earth.” “You’re not helping.” “Okay, how about you email them to Leighanne and have Baylee pick one out for you?” “You’re making me leave the decision making that will either make or break my career to a two year old?” “It’s just a picture Bri.” Nick laughed. “Damn it, it’s Howie’s fault!” “Speaking of which, maybe we should just leave the decision making to him. He seems to-” Nick paused; someone had just slammed his door shut and he could hear a set of rushed footsteps coming towards him. “Nick? Hello?” Should he hide? Hang up on Brian and call 911? Grab a bat? What? The footsteps were deafening now, he knew another step and he would know who it was that had rudely barged into his house. “You didn’t lock your freaking door? What were you thinking? God damn it Nick, I could be a thief and you’re gonna be dead by now!” Nick rolled his eyes even though his heart was still beating like crazy. “Gotta go Brian, your cousin has decided to randomly barge into my house and give me one of his infamous Kevin speeches. Tell AJ to lock up, he might be next.” “Man, good luck.” “Yeah.” Kevin looked like he had not eaten a human for the past few weeks and now he was feasting on Nick. “It’s almost ten Kevin, what are you doing here?” Kevin nodded vigorously. “That’s right! It’s almost TEN and you didn’t even lock your front door! Jesus Nick, this isn’t Tampa, your house has no gates, there’s no guards nearby and you didn’t even turn on your alarm system!” Nick clenched his jaws and reminded himself that this was Kevin, he loved this guy, he shouldn’t give him a punch on the face. “And this is my house! You don’t get to barge in here and tell me how to run it!” Kevin closed his eyes and shook his head. Nick began to worry. Please don’t yell. Please don’t yell… When he opened up his eyes again, Kevin exhaled loud enough for Nick to hear it and then said, “We have to lock the doors.” He left Nick in his study room and bolted for the living room. “What the…” Nick ran after him, just in time to see Kevin locking the doors and punching the security code to activate his alarm system. “How did you-urgh, never mind!” “You gave me your security code before.” Kevin explained. “Which I shouldn’t have done by the way,” Nick pointed out. “since that’s the whole point of having one.” “Yeah I know, but you’re too trusting, that’s your problem.” Kevin said. Nick felt irritated again. “Kevin, mind telling me why you’re here and seem very interested in my alarm system?” Kevin combed his fingers through his newly cut hair and then looked at Nick. He thought he saw fear there. That alarmed Nick to no end. “Kev, what’s wrong?” “You got ice for this?” Kevin asked, pointing at his left eye. Nick squinted. “For your eye? Why? What’s wrong?” “If the fans know how bad your eyesight is, they wouldn’t be awing at how blue they are.” Kevin said. “Man shut up.” Nick grumbled as he left to get an ice pack from the kitchen. “Barge into my house, gave me a speech about alarms, ask for ice and then insult my eyes. Kevin really needs some wake up call. I should just give that injury prone right leg of his a kick and see how much that sucks.” Nick grabbed his pair of glasses in the study room on his way back to the living room. “Here.” “Thanks man.” Now that Nick had his glasses on, he could see a good bruise at the corner of his right eye. There was a little broken skin with a hint of blood on it. “Damn Kev, what did you do? Argue with a 16 year old?” “Ha, funny.” Nick rolled his eyes. “Well, are you gonna tell me or do I have to kick you out of my house?” “I got mugged okay?” “You what!” Nick was panicking now. Mugged? Kevin? OUR Kevin? Mighty Kev? No way! “Did you make a report? Did you have that cut checked? What?” “Nick, don’t have a cow please.” Kevin grumbled. “Cow? Don’t have a cow? I’m having a WHALE Kevin, you didn’t make a police report did you?” “No I didn’t, I-” “Kevin!” Nick groaned. “You have to make a report! The bastard is still out there!” “I’ll make it tomorrow okay Nick? I’m just too…” It dawned upon Nick that he had never seen Kevin this helpless before. Nick for one, wasn’t sure how to handle it. Think Nick think! This is Kevin, you know this guy your whole life! “Okay,” Nick breathed. “What you gonna do now?” “I don’t know,” Kevin shrugged. “sleep maybe.” “Sleep.” Nick said. Kevin nodded. “Yeah.” “You’re not driving anywhere tonight.” Kevin said nothing. “And just cause I love you, I’m gonna put some covers and pillows in the spare room. We’ll talk about this in the morning, deal?” Kevin shrugged. “Hey, it’s your house.” Nick nodded. “Damn straight.” When Nick was sure that Kevin had all the necessities he needed, he went around the house, making sure that everything was locked and secured. Howie made me vain and Kev’s making me paranoid, I swear this is a good year to release that album out. Once he was back into the study room, the same stack of pictures greeted him but he had no desire to start criticizing each and every one of them again. He picked up the cell phone and speed dial the number to the very person who would know what to do, he hoped.